Introduction: “Ball Don’t Lie!” December 12, 2012 (Overview)

The introduction uses Rasheed Wallace’s 2012 ejection from an early season game for yelling “Ball Don’t Lie!” after a missed free throw to introduce the concerns and methods of Ball Don’t Lie! 

03-1s058-knickssidec-300x200I offer a contextualized close reading of the phrase “Ball don’t lie!” used by former National Basketball Association player Rasheed Wallace to protest foul calls. I first explain how “Ball don’t lie” counters what I will call “basketball common sense” by analyzing the official language of the NBA concerning fouls, referees and disputes over foul calls, which I functions as an authoritarian speech act that obscures its own nature as such.

In view of this, I argue that “Ball don’t lie!”—like my book—counters with a pragmatic intervention in a material and discursive contest between a player and a referee. I then situate this intervention in the context of the racial politics of basketball in American society. I sketch a history of race in the NBA, focusing on what I call the “the white basketball unconscious” to show how “Ball don’t lie” intervenes as a disruptive form of political affirmation that, metonymically, resonates beyond the court and into American society more broadly.

Get a taste of the Introduction or go on to Chapter 1: The Myth of Creation, December 21, 1891.

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